Governor Walz announces reopening of restaurants, bars, fitness centers

"We believe we should be able to handle this," Walz said

WCCO Radio Newsroom
June 05, 2020 - 9:54 am

On Friday afternoon during his daily press conference, Governor Walz announced that bars, restaurants theaters, pools and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen on June 10th. This will also include outdoor concerts. 

Governor Walz will allow bars and restaurants to reopen at 50% indoor capacity. He will allow fitness centers to reopen to 25% of capacity or 250 people, whichever is smaller. He will also allow theaters to reopen to 25% capacity. 

On Tuesday, Governor Walz hinted that the "turning of the dial" in a press conference that based around the civil unrest in Minneapolis after the George Floyd killing. The Governor said that while he is worried about the spike in COVID-19 after the protests the Minnesota Department of Health was going to present him with a safe way to allow bars, restaurants and gyms to reopen in the near term. 

Friday, he expanded on that, allowing businesses to reopen in limited capacities.

Dials Governor June 5th
(Photo Courtesy of the State of Minnesota)

"We believe we should be able to handle this," Governor Walz said.  "But we can't get complacent, and we can't get lazy around what will happen here. We're going to have to ask people to help make this work.  This is personal responsibility piece.  If we all pack back in, and we all get close to one another.  And we know the last ten days has been tough with that."

Walz also talked about how increased testing, and ICU capacity, is allowing him to make this decision now.

"These steps are incredibly important," Walz said.  "We passed 11,000 tests yesterday even in the midst of what's happening.  We have the capacity now to reach those numbers we talked about.  We'd like to get over 20,000 if we need.  We may need to do this until next February or March if that's when the time comes.  But that doesn't mean we can't be smart in how we roll back open businesses."  

Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove thanked Minnesota businesses for allowing for time to prepare during the state shutdown.

"Our businesses across Minnesota have really sacrificed over the past few months," said Grove.  "That has allowed our hospital system, allowed our critical care capacity, to respond and prepare, to prepare for an increase in cases and allow us to keep more Minnesotans alive."

Grove reiterated that Minnesotans should continue to wear masks when in public, and still should stay at least six feet apart in order to limit spread.  

For any organized setting, the state is asking that a maximum of 250 gather in one setting.  It was also announced that outdoor personal gatherings can be 25 people while indoor gatherings should stay at 10 people for now.  

While at a restaurant, workers are being required to wear masks and it is "strongly encouraged" that patrons wear a mask to and from their tables.  Reservations for all restaurants will still be required but they can seat 50% to capacity in the dining room.  This announcement comes just five days after restaurants were allowed to open to outdoor and patio services and salons were allowed to open to small capacities.

Personal services, such as salons, tattoo parlors and barbershops may open at 50% capacity while requiring reservations.  Chuches can increase capacity from 25% to 50%.

Fitness centers are a bit more restricted, with only 25%, as are entertaiment venues such as movie theaters and bowling alleys. Pools are allowed to open to 50%, with Commissioner Grove saying "it's been show the virus does not spread through water."

Sports with participants under 25 are now allowed too.  Games with limited or no contact, such as tennis, can play games.  For high contact sports, the recommendation is can still only practice in a "socially distant manner."

For those workers who can still do their job function at home, the governor's plan states you should still work from home for now.  They are also encouraging all businesses that don't have a plan to get people back to work to start working on that plan now.  

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota now has 1,148 deaths with 26,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19.  Commissioner Jan Malcolm added, "We are likely dealing with high levles of Covid-19 transmission for months to come. Most likely until we get herd immunity or a vaccine, which is quite a ways away."

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